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Continental Conference of Christian Family Movements of Asia held in Bangkok

Delegates of the 12th continental Asia conference of Christian family movements

The 12th Continental Conference of Christian Family Movements of Asia was held from 11 to 14 November in Baan Phu Waan, the Bangkok diocesan Pastoral Center.

More than 100 delegates from Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam joined the conference.

The International Christian Family Movements of Asia aims "to promote Christ-centered marriage and family life, to help individuals and their families to live the Christian faith in everyday life, and to improve society through actions of love, service, education and example.

The theme of the Conference this year was “Interreligious Dialogue: Advancing the Mission of Christian Family Movements in Asia,” with the goal to build bridges with other religions.

Bishop Sivio Siripong Charatsri, President of the Catholic Commission of Thailand for the Laity, Desk of the Family, presided over the opening mass.

In his homily, bishop Siripong, spoke about the crisis faced by the family institution. In some countries, a large number of marriages end up in divorce. For young catholic people, the challenge is even bigger. As they are part of a minority community, very seldom does a catholic share the same faith with a partner.

Bishop Siripong stressed the importance of moving to a “Church in Dialogue,” where the members of the families know the faith of their partner, recognize it and cope with it in a peaceful way.

Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, the ICCFM Chaplain and CFM Philippines National Chaplain asked the delegates to reflect on how their unique religious experiences allow them to cooperate with the mission of the Church to build an empathetic, pastoral and caring church, true to the CFM values

In a society where differences coexist, complementing, enriching, and reciprocally illuminating one another, and even amid disagreements and reservations, each person was called to bear in mind that God took the initiative to love first, and the grace of God offers salvation to all people. 

As stated by the Bishops at the recently concluded FABC, the Bishop reminded everyone that the aim of all Basic Ecclesial  Communities is to "reach out to the peripheries". 

Continental Asia Conference of Christian Family Movements

Father Alexis Clement Prakash Fernando, the CFM Sri Lanka National Chaplain, set the stage for discussion through his keynote speech on “Interreligious Dialogue: An overview from the Church perspective.”

On the following day, the Conference members focused on the theme, “See or observe.”

Bishop Joseph Chusak Sirisut, Nakhorn Ratchasima, heading the Interreligious Dialogue office of the Thai Bishops Conference, spoke on the topic: “Integration of religion and local culture: the core of inter-religious dialogue.” In his address, he said that God’s love is at the very foundation of human experience, it is the force that moves mankind toward his neighbour.  That is why the promotion of unity, inculturation, and evangelization go hand to hand.

God’s love allows us to see the needs of our neighbours and respond to these needs. God’s love changes our vision of others and helps us to understand them and accept the fact that they can be different from us. God’s love changes our hearts and makes us witnesses, signs of the kingdom’s presence among mankind.

At the end of the sharing sessions, the participants at the 12th Continental Asia Conference of Christian Family Movements visited Buddhist and Hindu temples to get exposure to different places of worship. - Fr. Domenico Rodighiero


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